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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Poet Laureates

John Dryden, First Poet Laureate.

Concluding poetry month with a discussion about Poet Laureates (PL) would be an appropriate summation. The concept of a PL came from the notion that the monarch of England wished to have a poet write poems and verse to commemorate events of note. The tradition of PL has extended into schools, where we have a poem read at commencement or other occasions of import. The tradition of a PL doesn't have to be limited to government, it can be extended into our schools, businesses, and even entertainment. We have songs and speeches that are used to celebrate beginnings of things or concluding things, so why not a poem?

A good source to start a study of the PL would be at HighBeam Encyclopedia. Whether Ben Johnson or John Dryden was the first PL is not clear. The PL held the position for life in England. The American term for the PL is one year. The function is the same, nonetheless, to write verse to celebrate the accomplishments of the leader. Joseph Auslander was the first Poet Laureate of the United States.

Joseph Auslander, First Poet Laureate of the United States.

The Poet Laureate is an exalted position. What other countries have Poet Laureates? Who are the Poet Laureates of England and The United States? How could we extend the Poet Laureate idea into other walks of life?

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